16 June 2006

Auf Wiedersehen!

This is a couple of hours early, but ... We're outta here! I won't have much Internet access for the next 2 weeks, if any at all, so don't expect too many updates. Besides, this is supposed to be time for Kim and I to spend together ... not sure how fondly she'd look upon me taking time to blog!

Since the world doesn't really revolve around me (despite what I may say sometimes), there are a few things I want to point out while we're gone ...

Happy birthday to: 'Cross god Sven Nys (tomorrow, June 17), great teammate and friend Steve Driscoll (June 23), and my sister-in-law Kelli (June 29).

A BIG CONGRATS to: Mom & Dad Kopsell, who will be celebrating 37 years of marriage on June 29. (How was that for an anniversary present a few years ago?)

And finally ... Happy Quit Day to me! Sunday, June 18, marks the day I quit smoking, 8 years ago. I locked myself in our apartment for 3 days with tapes from the France World Cup -- I figured watching all those amazing sportsmen would be huge motivation not to smoke. And I was right! Woo-hoo!

I'll leave you with this beautiful image of the Brandenburg Gate ... Deutschland here we come!

15 June 2006

6 months!

Hard to believe, but today marks 6 months until 'Cross Nationals! Scheduled for December 15-17, there are very few details out there right now about the events in Providence, but I'm excited for it nonetheless!

It's sort of strange to be sitting here in mid-June, thinking about 'cross -- I can say for certain I've never been here before. I had a great split workout yesterday (Wedensday being 'cross day of course), with a tough hill run workout in the morning and a fun, rain-soaked widetrack ride in the afternoon. So far, I've been able to maintain my enthusiasm for 6 months since last December, and as it stands right now I don't think it will be a problem to keep it up for another six!

And I have to say, I'm pretty happy with where I'm at. Despite being a full month "behind" last year in terms of training, my form is nearly where it was a year ago, and I had a relatively successful 'cross season. If I'm able to keep it together, this year can only be better -- in terms of skills alone I'm leaps and bounds above where I was, even in December. So now is a good time to take a break, do some running and clear the head ... when we get back, I'll be ready for a new base period and a whole lot of riding!

ONLY 6 MONTHS TO NATZ!!
... and 3 months, 8 days to UCI No. 1!

Not feeling so bad

Check out the results from the first TT stage of the Nature Valley Grand Prix ... puts Sunday into perspective, huh? Great ride by Nick Reistad, and if you look further down the results list you can tell who will be going for stage wins in upcoming days ...

Pro/1/2 Men
1 Nathan O'Neill (Health Net pb Maxxis) 8.29.79
2 Bernard Van Ulden (Navigators Insurance) 0.12.88
3 Greg Henderson (Health Net pb Maxxis) 0.18.73
4 Karl Menzies (Health Net pb Maxxis) 0.18.81
5 Gordon Fraser (Health Net pb Maxxis) 0.19.91
6 Scott Nydam (Rio Grande/Sports Garage) 0.22.58
7 Doug Swanson (Nature Valley Racing Team) 0.24.55
8 Reid Mumford (ABD) 0.27.07
9 Kirk O'Bee (Health Net pb Maxxis) 0.27.78
10 Stefano Barberi (Toyota-United) 0.28.58
11 Bryce Mead (ABD) 0.30.19
12 Matt Rice (Jelly Belly) 0.30.51
13 Hilton Clarke (Navigators Insurance) 0.31.58
14 Chris Harkey (Hincapie Sports/Bianchi/ Dasani) 0.32.00
15 Scottie Weiss (Hincapie Sports/Bianchi/ Dasani) 0.34.78
16 Frank Pipp (Targetraining) 0.36.91
17 Oleg Grichkine (Navigators Insurance) 0.37.34
18 Justin Morgan (Broadmark / Hagens-Berman) 0.37.37
19 Nick Reistad (Jelly Belly) 0.37.53
20 Mike Olheiser (MMW/Carve) 0.37.83

14 June 2006

Take me to your leeeder ...

I hate to say my parents were right, but, well, they were. Not about everything, mind you, but definitely correct in one sense -- as I get older, I appreciate the way they raised me more and more. Like the fact that we went camping, a lot. And that we traveled, a lot. In fact, by the time Kim and I got married, I had been to -- and camped in many of -- 46 of the lower 48 states. Only Mississippi and Louisiana remained, and a quick trip to New Orleans for Kim's birthday took care of that ...

Another thing they got right was the way they taught my brother and I to make choices. We had another day of "leadership training" at work yesterday, and as we moved through the workbook, the teacher kept referring to the different types of "leadership." He also said that most of our responses were hardwired by the time we were 16. So if that's the case, who I am today and the way I "lead" have a lot to do with my parents!

There were definitely times in which my dad would lapse into the "command and control," "YOU WILL DO THIS OR ELSE" model of leadership. That's 'Model X.' Mainly, it was when Tim and I were doing things we shouldn't -- like smoking, or playing soccer in the house (usually breaking something), or other such things that kids sometimes do. For the most part, my parents were ahead of their time -- mind you, this was the 1970s and 80s, and they were already very much in the 'Model Y' mode this guy was trying to teach in 2006 -- share responsibility, teach consequences, and maintain accountability.

It didn't always work -- we have a funny picture of Tim trying -- at age 6 -- to push a lawnmower that outweighed him by about 50 pounds -- but for the most part, it did. Sure, I hated our "chores," and to this day refuse to clean the bathroom unless absolutely I have to, but I had a serious "a ha!" moment yesterday when I realized that I truly did not understand some of the counter-examples this teacher was using. And even more of an "a ha!" when I realized that most of the people around me did, and worse, identified very closely with them.

There are still some things I disagree with that my parents did; even through disagreement I am living out the example they set. That's why I had such a hard time my freshman year of college -- my English teacher kept trying to teach me to "think critically," to think for myself -- I already had been doing that for 18 years! They may not have been perfect, but I'd say my parents did a pretty good job, and it made leadership "training" a whole lot easier!

ONLY 186 DAYS TO NATZ!!

13 June 2006

Congrats!

Today being the 13th of June, it is Christina and Tom's 8th anniversary! Big congrats to them!

I'm in "leadership training" all day, so nothing much here. I'm learning just how ahead of their time my parents were -- if our patterns of thinking were all set before we were 16, I ended up somehow different than "most" people ... I blame it on them!

ONLY 187 DAYS TO NATZ!!

12 June 2006

The more things change ...

I'm going to have to try this "I'm waiting for 'cross" thing more often. Not only am I not tired of racing, I don't seem to have lost anything despite not training as much!

Yesterday's TT went well -- true to form, Garden Prairie was windy and rough. I finished in 56:29, just 14 seconds slower than last year at the same event. I suppose I could just worry and fret about hitting some sort of plateau, but the truth is, I felt OK and did better on the uphills this year. Oh, and there was that little b*tch of a road race the day before, whereas last year I had a small taper ...

I managed 3rd in the Cat. 1/2s, behind Reid and Bryce who are on fire. They both beat the course record by more than a minute, with Reid clocking a 51-something and Bryce about 30 seconds slower. Puts last weekend into perspective when you know that the Bong course is about 600 meters (about a minute+) short, and GP is a true 40km effort. Those guys are flying.

My time was good enough for 5th overall -- after Reid and Bryce, there were three of us with 56s. Kudos to Ted Westerhide of 2CC, who managed the third-fastest time overall, just sneaking in 3 seconds ahead of Ben "Brother of Ironman stud Cam" Widoff and about 20 seconds ahead of me. The Widoffs did a Mack ride last summer with the express intent of killing us all ... I didn't feel so bad after I heard Cam finished 5th at Kona ...

It was fun to see JPE and a couple of other Madison 'crossers there -- sort of weird to have seen Kurt and Jim on Saturday, and then them on Sunday. I guess that means 'cross season is getting closer? JPE assures me that the Wisconsin schedule is "just one phone call" from being published ... it better be, since I ended up having a strange nightmare last night in which the Wisconsin schedule somehow morphed and JPE was intentionally moving events around so I couldn't race!

ONLY 188 DAYS TO NATZ!!

11 June 2006

Chicago 2015

Say what you want about Mayor Daley and patronage and The Machine ... you have to admit, right now is a very good time to be living in Chicago, especially if you're a cyclist ...

From today's Chicago Tribune: CHICAGO'S MASTER PLAN -- DON'T DRIVE. JUST BIKE. City peddling new proposal for 500-mile network of paths to be finished by 2015

And by the way, did you see that Ecuador beat Poland 2-nil and T&T held Sweden to a nil-nil draw despite playing the entire second half a man down? It's FOOTBALL baby!

Number 5 is alive!

I love on-line registration! It's so convenient, so easy -- even though I had to pay a small handling fee for yesterday's Wisconsin State Road Race, it was well worth it to be able to sign up days ahead of time. This was the first time I've ever seen that for a Wisconsin race, and I took full advantage ...

Since I was one of the few pre-registered riders, I ended up with dossard No. 5. It's sort of fun to line up in good-sized fields with a low number -- something about it helps to mentally get me ready to race. Number 5 is good, number 11 is great -- I'm not tied to any particular low number, or any number at all for that matter -- it's just fun.

The morning clouds and rain cleared, and we had about 50 guys line up for the 1/2 field in windy and chilly conditions. I had never been on this particular course configuration before, and ominously it reminded me of part of the Alpine Valley course, one of the hardest of Superweek ... But I was ready, and determined to just ride a good race, to ride my race.

10 to go: We had 10 laps of a 6.5 mile course ahead of us, and I used the tailwind start to clip in fast and lead the field over the first small rise. This way I would have good position, and we weren't pushing too hard. We hit corner 1, turned right, and I got swamped on the uphill, but was still only about 15-20th. A break of two went on the flat back straight of the course.

9 to go: Up the hill to the start/finish, and I was toward the front. We were all being pretty good about the yellow-line rule, but there were some clear violations. I'm not sure where it has come from, but I've gotten really good at moving through the group, rather than around it, and used that to my advantage. Some weak attacks go on the hill, and I'm about 25th at the start/finish, seeing 9 to go.

8 to go: I'm not feeling super, but am doing pretty well. Squirrelly riding in the pack makes me realize I need to move up, and I do so on the long run-in toward the hill. We hit the hill and Crater puts in a dig ... I go from about 8th wheel to about 15th. Not too bad, and I big-ring it to stay in contact with the second small group on the road. We all meet up just at turn 1.

7 to go: Still feeling pretty good, I hang out near the top 10 for the entire lap. On the run-in to the hill, I move up on the left side, a bit too much work in the wind but I knew things were going to get tough. Sure enough, ex-Jelly Belly pro Paul Ellis puts in an attack on the hill ... and I'm there! It's a struggle, but I somehow manage to stay in contact with the leaders as we see 7 to go and begin the regroup into turn 1. I tell Shannon I will need a bottle on the next lap. Then right, and up and over -- I'm doing OK with the tailwind, but start to fall back a bit. That's when it happens -- a couple of strong attacks from Kurt Refsnider, IS Corp, W&S and a PCW, and all of a sudden a second group is forming just off the front. Crater moves to the front to block, and I know it's now or never -- I jump around him, pushing like hell to bridge the gap. I've got a good rhythm, but I'm not making up much ground, and Crater is sitting on me as he has a guy just ahead ...

... and I was racing! It was a tactical gamble. Some would say a tactical mistake. But I didn't care. It was now or never, and by god I was racing. I was making this race as hard as I could. I was contributing. And boy did I pay for it!

We came around turn 2, and I had brought the gap down to about 4 seconds. As we hit the cross/headwind, I was done, and swung left just as everyone behind realized the opportunity and jumped up to the group. Ellis led the charge, and before I could even catch a breath, the entire field had passed me! There were only 25 guys left!!! Kurt was tacked onto the back, his earlier attack having been brought back, and I lost contact on the uphill. I dove down into a tuck on the fast downhill, and used his green and grey kit as my lifeline and just make contact as we hit the headwind ...

6 to go: We hit the hill, and it's steady. But I'm suffering, and by the time we get to Shannon I have become unhitched. I grab my bottle, but have lost 2-3 seconds, and the gap is slowly but surely starting to open. Attacks go like crazy just after turn 1, and by turn 2 I've lost 20 seconds. I pick up another straggler, and we hold the group to 20 seconds for an entire lap ...

5 to go until the finish: At various points, I ride with as many as three others. There's 21 guys up the road, but I went there to do 100km of racing and I wasn't going to quit now. Shannon tells me Jim is behind, and if he's still riding I'm not the last one out there. I spend a lap and a half completely alone in there, and then with 2 to go meet up with another Illinois guy. We hammer it home, finishing 22nd and 23rd after a long, long day out in the saddle.

I want to say a big thank you to Shannon (Holmes ;-) ), who was kind enough to feed me and give me time splits. At some point I was 9 minutes off the back, but needed the miles ... and a HUGE CONGRATS to her and Jim, who will be getting married in Walla Walla, Washington in just a few weeks ... sorry we can't be there to celebrate with you!

In the car on the way home, I felt strangely satisfied with my race today. I didn't have the fitness to pull off even a field finish, but I held on long enough to be one of the last couple of guys dropped, and -- much more importantly -- I raced. I realized that that is what I enjoy about bike riding. Racing my way. If that means attacking and chasing and getting dropped, then so be it. I have enough tactical sense to not do stupid things, so I'll use that to my advantage and just go out there and race. No more of this "don't do anything but sit near the front." That's not me, that's not my style of racing. I want it hard, I want it fast. And if I don't have the fitness to hang, then so be it -- at least I'll be racing.

And speaking of which, it's time for me to get a move on. I've got a TT to race in just a few hours, and the coffee's ready!

ONLY 189 DAYS TO NATZ!!

09 June 2006

News of the day

What a day, what a weekend! So much going on, I don't know where to start!
  • We're now just an hour away from the start of World Cup 2006. The first match, Germany v. Costa Rica, will be played in Munich at 6 p.m. local time (11 a.m. Chicago). Should be a good win for the home team -- I can't imagine a powerhouse like Deutschland, even if they aren't as strong as in years past, will lose to a small CONCACAF team like Costa Rica.
  • In other football news, the new Chicago Fire stadium in Bridgeview opens this Sunday! I'm still not sold on the idea of moving the team to the Southwest suburbs, but then I got a look at the map of the area ... hmmm ... it's just 3 miles from Palos ... hmmm ... morning ride followed by afternoon game? Hell yeah baby! Plus, we'll be coming in on surface streets, so we won't have to deal with the expressway traffic ... and Kim doesn't have school in July or August! Woo-hoo!
  • I got hooked in last night as I was sitting down to eat dinner ... if you've never seen the Channel 11 Chicago River boat show, you're missing out on an awesome piece of Chicago historical narrative. Well ... the original was created and produced in 1995, and last summer they re-did it! They ran the 10-year anniversary special last night, and I realized just how much I loved the original, and how cool the new one was ... so I ponied up and "pledged" enough to get the DVD. Support local television they told me, so I did! (Of course, this meant that I didn't get through any more Tour stages ...) Stay tuned -- they're working on a Fox River version this summer, for release around Thanksgiving ...
  • There is non-football news out of the Fatherland: Site of Hitler's bunker in Berlin given historical marker. I'm not sure how I feel about this one -- on the one hand, it is an important piece of history; on the other, do we really need to know where it is? If memory serves, it used to be in the no-man's land between the Wall -- we saw the spot 15 years ago, but now it's totally changed ...
  • How's this for evangelism? Church Takes Message on Road. The Church of Scientology is sponsoring a car in the NASCAR developmental series, starting this weekend out in Irwindale. Karl Marx would be so proud.
  • When I started to lose weight, one of the things I did was stop going to fast food restaurants. Every once in a while, though, the craving calls ... and I usually aim for a Wendy's -- because I like their food better, it's marginally healthier, and they're a sponsor of cycling events in their home state of Ohio. Now comes this news -- Wendy's whacks trans fats. Yippee! Now I can get the fries and the Frosty!
  • Finally, a HUGE CONGRATS to Renee, who has a new job! She is the first-ever "Safe Routes To School Coordinator" in the Great State of Cheese. Woo-hoo! I made a comment on her blog, and I'll make it here though -- I think the Feds wanted to stress "safe" in the "safe routes" moniker -- not sure how many kids will be looking to jump barriers and hop logs on their morning ride ...

ONLY 191 DAYS TO NATZ!!

08 June 2006

Al Trautwig is a boob

Kim and I are a little behind the times. Last summer, in an ambitious attempt to prop up the sagging VHS industry, we embarked on a project to tape -- yes, TAPE -- all the live coverage of the Tour de France on OLN. It was successful, but then reality set in -- training, school, work, West Wing, etc. all conspired to cut into our already limited TV viewing time.

As a consequence, we still don't know who won the Tour. I just found out yesterday that George Hincapie won the hardest mountain stage! Whether we know for sure about Lance in Paris before Ivan takes over this year remains to be seen ...

It also gives us the luxury of perspective. What I've come to realize -- from any vantage point, any perspective -- is that Al Trautwig is pretty close to worthless. I feel sorry for him really -- he's more of a traut out of water than anything else, pressed as he is into covering a hundred or so Euro-studs in a sport he knows nothing about. But come on man! At least do something right!

The most agregious Trautism came in the "Second Rest Day Special" that I watched in part last night. In recapping the first couple of weeks of the Tour, Trautwig was all excited to recount the exploits of the underdog. In doing so, he mangled a bunch of things (names of cities, riders, etc.), but the best was when he simultaneously insulted the French and could have started a 100-year holy war ...

In describing the attack of Frenchman David Moncoutie, who took the win in Digne-les-Bains on Stage 12:
"Every Frenchman wants to win on Bastille Day, the most Gaelic of festivals."

GAELIC??? WTF??? I know what he meant to say, and after 2 weeks of day-in, day-out coverage I can forgive some mistakes. But this is le Quatorze Juillet for gods sake! Does he expect some little green leprachauns and men in kilts to suddenly overrun the French countryside on their day of independence?

Stay tuned -- still a week to go, and I'm sure it will only get better ...


Training update: Just three days to go until the "end" of my road season! Then a fairly light week, followed by two weeks of off-bike vacation, and then 'cross season starts in earnest on July 3 ... ironically just as the Tour is getting under way in France ... Today was a nice easy AM commute to work, with a zone 1/2 ride home. The weather is beautiful out there!

I'm a bit aprehensive about this weekend's racing -- I'm looking forward to pushing hard on Saturday in the road race, and using the TT as training. Thing is, there was a TT last weekend in perfect conditions on an easy course, and the times were pretty spectacular ... this will be a test of my new mental fortitude to try to not compare myself to the results from then -- Sunday's course is much harder and is very, very windy ... plus I'll be up against the two strongest TT riders in Illinois, both with many miles of racing in their legs ... Whatever happens, it will be good training, and fun to get back out on the TT rig again!

ONLY 192 DAYS TO NATZ!!

06 June 2006

One night in Leipzig ...

Picture this: It's 2 p.m. on Wednesday, June 21. The ICE train from Berlin is pulling into the main train station in Leipzig. On it are two travelers from the U.S., in town just for the evening to see the World Cup game that starts at 4 p.m. After four days in the capital, all they want to do is drop their bags at the hotel, get to the game, find dinner, relax, and catch a train for Heidelberg at 8 a.m. the next morning.

Now imagine this: the look of shock and surprise when they find out that their "World Cup Special" hotel room is 30 miles from the train station! D'oh!

All I've got to say is thank goodness for progress on the Internet. Five years ago when we last traveled to Europe on our own, we were able to find our hotel bookings and train tickets, but had to dig pretty deep into the layers of the 'net to do so. This time around, Expedia.com pretty much had everything we needed -- and it all went pretty smoothly!

There was one thing we weren't sure of, however, and that was the hotel in Leipzig that I booked. Unlike other listings, this one didn't have a map, just an address ... which, of course, said "Leipzig." Wellllll ... the darn hotel isn't in Leipzig! More like Willow Springs is to Chicago! D'oh!

Thankfully, the Internet has come a loooong way, and I was actually able to use MapQuest today to find the exact location. Once I saw it, a quick lookup confirmed that other, much closer hotels are available, and before you could say "cancellation fee," I had us booked in the Renaissance in downtown.

So now picture this: it's 2 p.m., and the only thing we have to worry about is whether the hotel will hold our luggage or whether our room will be available early. We'll have all the time in the world to stroll over to the "Fan Zone," and plenty of time to get to the stadium before game-time. Our hotel is just 500 meters from the train station, and the "Fan Zone" is just 2 blocks away! Woo-hoo!

ONLY 194 DAYS TO NATZ!!

05 June 2006

Progress and pain

Where were you 25 years ago today? I had just celebrated my 8th birthday, just finished a year of 2nd grade with the beautiful Mrs. Zander, and we were preparing for a family camping trip. In other words, a normal summer day ...

At the same time, a doctor in West L.A. was publishing a report in the M&M Weekly Report put out by the CDC. These words changed the course of history forever:
"the above observations suggest the possibility of a cellular-immune dysfunction related to a common exposure that predisposes individuals to opportunistic infections"
His report was prompted by "Michael" and four other men being admitted to UCLA with symptoms of fever and weight loss, all within several days of each other. A then-new blood test identified that each of them had missing T-cells. Each of them was gay.

June 5, 1981, marks the "official" start of the HIV/AIDS epedemic. Since then, more than half a million people have died in the U.S. -- and more than 25 million worldwide -- from this disease. Forty million men, women and children are living with HIV today. And although there has been progress (Michael and the other four men each died within a year of being diagnosed), the epidemic is far from being over.

Twenty-five years ago, I don't know that I ever would have believed AIDS could have happened. When you're 8, you've got the whole future ahead of you, and stuff like that just doesn't even factor. I wish I could say the same at 33, but it's an unfortunate truth that past mistakes do not always lead to future learning. Instead, I can only hope that the fight continues, and hope that those we knew did not die in vain.

Further reading: And the Band Played On; The Truth About Reagan And AIDS (it took Ronald Regan 6 years, 4 months to ever say anything publicly about AIDS); Angels in America (literature); Angels in America (HBO Films); Gay Cancer, Emerging Viruses, and AIDS; Rent on-line

Endo-mania!

What an awesome weekend! Especially after all the hemming and hawing on Friday at work, I really needed that. And yes, I have a job (for now at least), and as it turns out, the crisis wasn't as big as we thought. Fallout is still happening, but I can put that off for now with thoughts of the weekend ...

I realized early last week that this was my last free weekend until July in which I could ride whenever and wherever I wanted. With races back-to-back next weekend, and then our trip, this was my last chance to do any trails for a while ... so it was off to Palos I went!

On both days, I got there at the butt crack of dawn, and although Sunday was more crowded, I pretty much had the run of the place. I got quite a few comments on my 'cross bike -- the fact that I was on a 'cross bike out there at all! -- and had a killer time stringing together long trail loops that hit the best singletrack that really tested my weaknesses -- downhills, cornering, and downhill cornering!

There were a couple of absolutely surreal moments, like the time I came around to Kim's log crossing on Out and Back, only to have a deer FLY across the trail at the exact same moment -- half a second sooner, and I would have been a goner ... or the 200-lb. guy I saw on Three Ravines on a dept.-store bike with NO toe clips -- good luck buddy! ... but the best was in my last hour on Sunday, when I had some guy try to keep up with me on Three Ravines and I dropped him! Then, when I swung up to Out and Back, a guy from Rogers Park on a full-suspension rig absolutely railed it to try to drop me, but I stayed with him! We got to the end, and he was super-surprised -- that made me feel pretty good!

I did biff it twice -- both absolutely spectacular endos. On Saturday, I dropped my front wheel between two roots, and stood straight up, hovering just long enough to know it was going to hurt when I landed. I ended up skidding down a tree trunk, ripping a hole in my vest and leaving a mark on my ribs ... oh, and I banged my leg on the top tube ... Then on Sunday, I took a log crossing too fast ("showing off" for a group I had caught), and my front end got sideways when I landed. Down hard on my shoulder, twisted my brake lever, and again banged the exact same spot on the top tube ... So I'm a little sore today, and after so many hours out there, my back is pretty tight ... but it was worth every minute!

Saturday afternoon, Kim and I headed to Kenosha to visit Christina and Tom and their three little ones -- it was a blast! We went down to the lakefront to see a "kite flight" (check out the link for a photo) -- dozens of the most amazing kites, all floating in the picture-perfect sky ... there were "stunt kites" and kids with kites, and huge kites tehtered to the ground ... it was pretty impressive! Then, Tom grilled up an incredible dinner of chicken ka-bobs and veggies, and Christina made these great potatoes -- since Kim and I can't grill, we were in HEAVEN! I had two heaping platefulls, and could have had more ... but had to save room for the pound cake, whip cream and blueberries ... hey, fruit is healthy!

It was fun to see Brodie again, since it's been almost a year since we were up there last. He is an absolute bundle of pure energy, and I swear he didn't stop moving the whole time we were there. He's also super-super-super smart, with a memory like a steel trap ... at one point, Tom gave him some fruit snacks shaped like cartoon characters. He laid them out, Brodie named them all, and then proceeded to eat them. Well, he forgot one, and about 5 minutes later Brodie was in the living room and Tom called to him ... "Hey Brodie, you forgot something. What did you forget?" Before Brodie even made it back into the kitchen, he had identified which character he hadn't eaten! That's pretty tough for an adult, let alone a 3-1/2 year old!!

It was really neat to see Cailey and Cate. You can tell they're Brodie's little sisters, definitely a family resemblance! It was fun to see them smile and start to grasp everything going on around them (literally, when one of them grabbed my nose!), and it was cute (for Kim and I anyway!) when they kind of yell a happy yell. After not too long, Cailey had enough of the kite flight, though, and kind of lost it, so it was back to the house and time for dinner. It was kind of funny, with Cailey carrying on, Cate just sat on the blanket with me, just sort of taking it all in peacefully ... they're both teething, though, which I'm sure can be very trying for Christina and Tom!

Yesterday afternoon was spent cleaning bikes -- the Colnago hadn't been touched in more than a month, and the Waterford was still a mess from last weekend. Mission accomplished, though, and then homemade pizza and bed ... a great finish to a fantastic weekend!

ONLY 195 DAYS TO NATZ!!

02 June 2006

Random stuff

  • You want to talk about insecurity? How about when a vendor screws up a pet project of the company president? First, the damn thing took 6 months to launch, and now that it's live it may not be working properly. Now I'm second-guessing myself, trying to remember if I did all the testing I needed to ... with the history we've had with this vendor, I know I did everything I could, but they still screwed it up ...
  • Kim came home from school last night sounding as if a colony of frogs had taken up residence in her throat. Not to make light of her being sick, but it does make me feel a bit better -- I thought my congestion and sore throat that started Saturday night was just allergies and hotel air, but turns out it wasn't. That means I was racing Sunday and Monday with a bit of sickness, so my mental problems aren't entirely unexplainable ... Thankfully this cold is pretty mild, just a lot of congestion and a light bit of coughing.
  • Headed to the Lagoons this morning to (finally!) check out what the bulldozer was all about. It's still pretty swampy on the main trail, so I ended up walking most of it -- sad to say that the BMX kids haven't been, and there is major erosion where there shouldn't be. I made it about 200 meters or so in, and they fixed Dam #1 (the broken-up asphalt dam) by filling in some gravel, and the bulldozer tracks extend way back into the forest on the "big loop." The small loop to the north, and the area around the Bone look untouched, so that's good ... once it dries some more, I'll try to get back there to scope it out some more.
  • Canadian Lynne Bessette, one of the all-time greatest female cyclists in North America and probably the world, is calling it quits. Check this out: Here's why she's stopping, ""When you start thinking about racing as crossing the line and just being safe there is no point... I'm scared now and I don't want to break anything else." She's had some serious injuries this season, and doesn't want any more risk ... so instead she's going to do some 'cross!
And Bessette says she is not entirely retired from racing. "I am still going to race some cross. I really love it and I had a great season last year. I don't think I will push it all the way to worlds but I will definitely do North America. See, it's not that I hate cycling now -- it's just that that part of cycling is not in me anymore."

... OK, time to go find out if I have a job on Monday ...

ONLY 198 DAYS TO NATZ!!